Bullying, especially in schools in NYC, is a growing concern for parents and schools, and directly affects about 20-30% of kids in grades 6 – 12 in the U.S. Children and parents feel powerless when it happens, unsure of how to react, and schools are expected to take action. There are serious ramifications for families.
Bullying is defined as repeated, intentional behavior to cause harm or control another of less power. It can take the form of physical (hitting), verbal (teasing,taunting) and/or social/relational (isolating, rumors). It happens in schools between peers, at work between co-workers, or in the home between family members. The key and common thread is that the victim of bullying does not feel they have enough power to make the bullying stop – they can’t protect themselves because of the imbalance of power.
When a child or anyone reports bullying, the best approach is to take it seriously, gather information and let everyone involved know. Bullying does not stop on its own – it requires a team approach to change the culture that enables the bully to reign with power. Typical strategies of “ignoring” or “standing up” to the bully are rarely successful on their own. This is why schools must be involved.
Written by Joshua Rosenthal, PsyD